May 26th, 2002

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Both Renault drivers criticise Sauber's Massa

Renault today experienced a disappointing qualifying session in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix. Following encouraging performances during free practice, the final positions they achieved were described by a statement as "only satisfactory".

Following a typical qualifying session at Monaco, with all the problems the congested track can bring, Jarno Trulli finished seventh with team-mate Jenson Button in eighth position. Sauber's Felipe Massa bore the brunt of both men's dissatisfaction.

Trulli, who was quickest in both Thursday and Saturday morning practice, was frustrated with his qualifying result. "Seventh position is disappointing when I was expecting to be in the top four. My first run was my only clear lap, and after that I hit traffic each time," he said.

"Twice, Massa's Sauber didn't move out of the way, even though he was just cruising around. I'm very angry about it. Even so, I want to thank the team for all their work, because I've had a very good car throughout this weekend. It's really frustrating, because we deserved better."

Button's best efforts were was also thwarted by traffic. "The car was good throughout the whole session - I didn't need to make any changes during the hour," he stated.

"I made a mistake on my third run, so I couldn't improve then, but the problem at the end was Massa. He slowed me down, just as for lots of other people, apparently. Something needs to be done about it."

Technical director Mike Gascoyne added: "We are disappointed as we were expecting more from qualifying. As the track got quicker, our drivers were both affected by traffic on their last three runs.

"Having said that, it's typical at Monaco, and everybody knows that. Up to now, we have had a competitive weekend, and we now look to reinforce our position during the race."
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Traffic slows Frentzen's qualifying performance

At a circuit where grid position is everything, qualifying times for the 2002 Monaco Grand Prix came down to a question of traffic for Arrows today. As track temperatures increased throughout the session, the track got faster, resulting in congestion at the end as everyone went for their best lap times.

Arrows driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen, after running in the top ten for much of the session, had to settle for 12th spot after running into traffic on his last run when the track was at its best. Team-mate, Enrique Bernoldi, qualified a creditable 15th.

"I aborted my first run due to traffic but runs two and three were okay. Unfortunately on the lap that counted at the end of qualifying I hit traffic so was unable to improve," the German explained in a press release.

"Monaco is for sure the most exciting race but it is always extremely busy and you have to search for the gaps in the traffic. We had a few bad breaks today. The top ten is very tight but with a little more balance and grip we could have made it up there. Nevertheless I'm looking forward to racing here tomorrow as this is always a great event."

Bernoldi, who lost practice session two on Thursday with an engine problem was also satisfied with the results of qualifying. "I think the end result today was okay. Obviously I would like to be higher up the grid but, as I have been playing catch-up since losing time in Free Practice, I think the result is okay.

" I decided to go out early to get a good run out of the traffic and did manage to make big improvements with each run. I enjoy the race here much more than qualifying so tomorrow should be fun, especially the start which should be pretty exciting.

Technical director Mike Coughlan added: "All in all a little disappointed with the result today. We didn't really get any clear laps as it was bumper-to-bumper out there. We managed to achieve a good balance on the tyres. It would've been good to be the first Bridgestone team behind Ferrari, but Fisichella put in a great lap so well done to him.

"I think Heinz is a little disappointed as he has been very competitive all weekend. I'm pleased for Enrique as he has improved steadily throughout the weekend and I think he'll fare even better in the race."
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